Magnifying Risk and Crisis: The Influence of Communication Technology on Contemporary Global Terrorism

Authored by: Michael D. Bruce , H.Dan O’Hair

Handbook of Risk and Crisis Communication

Print publication date:  September  2008
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9780805857771
eBook ISBN: 9780203891629
Adobe ISBN: 9781135597757


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In the 1990s, as the Cold War came to an end, many Westerners hailed what they saw as a new era of peace and prosperity being ushered in across the globe. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, during what Ikenberry (2004) referred to as the “American unipolar age,” (p. 1), the United States appeared to stand as the world’s only remaining “superpower.” Subsequently, with the demise of the Soviet Union, mainstream Westerners, their perspectives shaped by decades of anti-Soviet popular and political rhetoric, suddenly deemed the world to be much less “scary.” Concurrent discussions and/ or ratification of various weapons treaties—i.e., the Nuclear Nonproliferation, Comprehensive Test Ban, and Chemical Weapons Convention treaties—underscored the sense among politicians, foreign policy analysts and the general public that the security threat posed by other states was on the decline (Matthews, 1997). Van Belle’s (2000) study of foreign policy and international affairs provided academic support for the perception of the reduced threat, stating that the institutionalization of press freedoms, a more characteristic component of U.S. unipolar hegemony than the Cold War political cultures of either the Soviet Union or the United States, “shapes some aspects of foreign policy decisions in a consistent and empirically identifiable manner, most notably by limiting international conflict” (p. 9).

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